Earthquakes, floods and armed conflicts threaten human lives, but they also pose a serious threat to cultural heritage. Prevention, emergency plans and security measures therefore play a crucial role in the preservation of cultural property. The practical testing of new findings in cultural heritage protection research is therefore the focus of a joint disaster control exercise of the Danube University Krems and the Austrian Armed Forces from 26 to 28 May 2018.

As part of the EU Interreg project 'ProteCHt2Save - Risk assessment and sustainable protection of cultural heritage in a changing environment', researchers from Italy, the Czech Republic, Austria and other European countries are developing tailor-made solutions and strategies to protect cultural heritage in the event of a disaster. The research results are now being put to the test in a joint disaster management exercise organised by the Danube University Krems and the Austrian Armed Forces. Called 'TRITOLIA 18', international experts in cultural heritage protection and soldiers from the 2nd NBC Defence Company (Mautern) will meet from 26 to 28 May 2018 at the Tritolwerk, NBC and disaster relief training area in Eggendorf, to train the rescue of cultural heritage using a realistic scenario.

Realistic exercise scenario
The starting point for the exercise is a major earthquake in the south of Lower Austria that causes widespread destruction. It is assumed that many important cultural property objects are buried and need to be recovered quickly and safely. The first two days focus on setting up a situation centre, developing methods for recovering cultural property and an introduction to military working methods. On the third day, the actual exercise will take place with the recovery of cultural property in cooperation with the 2nd NBC Defence Company (Mautern) of the Austrian Armed Forces. The exercise will also be accompanied by experts and emergency services from Italy, which has dealt with several major earthquake disasters in recent years.

Beneficial cooperation
From the point of view of the cultural property protection experts, the objectives of the exercise include the realistic development and testing of emergency and evacuation measures for movable cultural property, an improved ability to assess risks, concrete work in crisis teams and practical know-how for the recovery of cultural property. From the point of view of the Austrian Armed Forces, the exercise and the cooperation with the Danube University Krems also bring numerous benefits. In addition to the direct experience gained during the exercise, the soldiers also benefit from the knowledge of the cultural property protection experts and can incorporate their research findings into their practical work.

'The opportunity to test the results of our cultural property protection research in a realistic scenario is of great benefit to us. The knowledge gained will be used to develop new or improved strategies for the protection of cultural property in the event of a disaster,' commented Dr. Anna Maria Kaiser, an expert in the protection of cultural property at the Danube University Krems.


Disaster control exercise ‘TRITOLIA 18’
Date: 26th to 28th May 2018
Location: Tritolwerk, NBC and Disaster Relief Training Centre in Eggendorf, Lower Austria

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